City sales tax up 9.1%

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— Sales tax collections in the city of Steamboat Springs maintained steady growth in June, powered by large increases in lodging, sporting-goods and building-use taxes. The lodging increase pointed to positive growth in the tourism industry, due especially to a number of large conferences held this past June on the mountain.
Lodging tax revenues rose substantially in June, up 12.1 percent from the previous year. Lodging is one of the best indicators of growth in tourism. The voluntary 1 percent lodging tax, which was stopped in July, was levied on all revenues at hotels and motels. The June increase was due in part to a number of conferences held at the large hotels in the mountain area, said Sandy Evans Hall, executive vice president of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association.
"A number of hotels, especially the Sheraton on the mountain, had large conferences, which contributed to the group business revenue," Evans Hall said.
The city garnered much of its sales tax revenue from the mountain area. Sales tax revenue from the mountain grew 12.65 percent as compared to last June.
The rise in tax revenues recorded by the sporting goods industry also indicated a boom. Up 25.9 percent from last June, sporting goods revenues got a boost from the pleasant weather in and around Steamboat in the past few months, according to Bob Dapper of Christy Sports.
"One of the biggest reasons for the rise in revenue was the excellent weather in June," Dapper said. He noted a large increase in sales of activewear, golf equipment and patio furniture.
The building use tax, which dipped 1.2 percent in May, bounced back in June, up 12.6 percent for the month. The building use tax is levied on materials used in construction. The increase is significant because the building use tax revenues had dipped four out of the previous five months.
The numbers, however, must be taken with a grain of salt, as the city finance department notes that the building use tax tends to fluctuate wildly.
"I wouldn't look at one month and try and draw conclusions," said Don Taylor, the city's director of financial services.
Nonetheless, the lodging and sporting goods figures indicate that good weather and excellent accommodations, all else aside, will still bring the tourists.

To reach Avi Salzman call 871-4203 or e-mail asalzman@amigo.net

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